We took this cruise as a family vacation to celebrate my 40th birthday. We travelled to Fort Lauderdale from Scotland and after arriving at the port at 11.30am were on board having lunch by 12pm. We had an inside cabin and a concierge aft balcony cabin, which both had a great layout, floor space and more storage than previous ships. The balcony in my parents room was an added bonus with sunshine all day and great for an aperitif before dinner.
The ship was beautiful and spotlessly clean with lovely public areas for eating, drinking or just sitting and relaxing. The Solstice class ships are definitely a cut above other ships and lines. The food in the MDR and Oceanview Cafe was good. There were plenty of choices at all times of the day. We also used Murano and Q-sine which were both excellent. For those who have not tried Q-sine it is a real experience, great fun and well worth the extra payment.
There was always something happening on the ship and plenty of activities to take part in. I particularly enjoyed the Zumba classes and the passenger choir. We didn't go to any of the shows but enjoyed the music playing around the ship. Despite the huge number of activities and entertainment on board, it never felt crowded and there was always space to find a peaceful place to sit, chat and have a drink with friends and family.
The staff and crew on this cruise were very friendly and attentive. The captain and his crew were visible around the ship during the day and evening, and always spoke to passengers. On previous cruises this tends to have been limited to formal evenings. The passengers seemed very relaxed on this cruise and I met lots of nice and interesting people. Despite being labelled as the sick ship for a few days, most people seemed to cope remarkably well with having to be served from the buffet stations and use extra hand gel in order to avoid further problems.
The itinerary on this cruise was fantastic for me as I'd never visited the Caribbean. In particular Aruba, Cuacao, St Thomas and St Maarten were lovely. In all cases we could just walk off the ship and into the port. We did not take any of the organised trips but did get taxis to beaches in Antigua and Saint Lucia. We were always greeted back on board warmly, with cold towels and a drink waiting as we returned to the ship.
All in all I loved this cruise. Sure there are always small things we can complain about but why would you want to when you're in the sunshine with great people and great service for two whole weeks?! I certainly never stopped smiling and still have great memories. Roll on the next cruise!